Have you ever been in Turkey before? This list brings you the most interesting facts about Turkey most of which you never heard before. If you’re thinking that you already know about Turkey, this article will make you reconsider your knowledge one again…

1. Istanbul Has One of The World’s Biggest and Oldest Shopping Center

Istanbul’s grand bazaar has 64 streets and 4000 shops

2. Leonardo Da Vinci Planned A Bridge over Golden Horn

In 1503 Da Vinci submitted plans for a bridge across the Golden Horn (Haliç) and he claimed this project was able to be built for Bosphorus as well. It was not accepted by Sultan Bayezid II.

3. The First Ever Built Christian Church is in Turkey

St. Pierre, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, travelled to Antioch (Antakya) to spread the Christianity in 29 A.D. In 1983 it was announced to be a pilgrim place by Pope VI. Paul.

4. World’s Second Unground Railway in Istanbul

İstanbul’s Tünel is the world’s second oldest underground railway. The constructions started in 1870’s and it began operation in 1875 between Galata and Pera.

5. There Are No Native Camels in Turkey

Despite the appereance of camels on advertisements and tourist brochures, there is no desert in Turkey, neither a native camel.

6. Tulip is a Turkish Flower

Tulip is originated in Turkey and introduced to Europe by Turkish traders in 16th century.

7. Santa Claus is from Turkey and other Biblical Figures

Saint Nicholas was born far from the North Pole, in Patara. And he’s not the only saint with connections to Turkey — the Virgin Mary’s resting place could be near Ephesus, while Saint Paul was from Tarsus in the south. Other Biblical figures include the Prophet Abraham, born in Şanlıurfa. And after the deluge, Noah may have run his ark aground at Mount Ararat.

8. You Can Cross Continents in Istanbul

Istanbul is the only city in the world spanning two continents; Asia and Europe. While you’re in Turkey, you can cross continents by road, sea and underwater tunnels.

9. National Sport is Oil Wrestling

The spectacle of two bulky men stripped to the waist, doused with olive oil, and grappling under the hot Thracian sun is a 654-year-old sporting tradition and sight to behold.

10. Turkey is Home of Hazelnut

Turkey is responsible for 80% of the world’s hazelnut exports. Hazelnut fields, widely spread in the Black Sea coasts of Turkey, have been located within 30 km from the coast towards inland.

Bonus: Turkish Alphabet Has Its Own Characters

The Turkish alphabet doesn’t include X,Q,W but has other letters such as I (pronounced as ER in water), Ç (pronounced as CH), Ş (pronounced as SH in Turkish), Ü (pronounced as EW in few), Ö (pronounced as IR in bird), and Ğ (soundless) instead.

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